The right data centre investment will create opportunity for any business, creating space for the connected economy and world-class service, suggests Conrad Kock, principal practice head: intelligent infrastructure at Dimension Data.

The data centre is defined by its ubiquity. It is also, if chosen correctly, a resource that can reduce capital expenditure, create opportunity, transform service delivery, and open the doors to the interconnected marketplace.

Data centres continue to play a critical key role in the rapid move to fully digitalised services and capability in organisations, reflected by the rapid growth in demand over the past 18 months. According to Statista, global data centre spend is expected to reach USD207 billion in 2022 after a high of USD197 billion in 2021.

The data centre has proven itself as central to success in an increasingly digital world – but it still requires finesse and innovation to meet the changing needs of organisation and customer.

The key to unlocking true data centre value is to find the unique service propositions (USPs) that translate data centre capability into business functionality. This will ensure the organisation can fully realise the value of its technology investments while also meeting the turbocharged demands of the digital customer, workforce and business.

With so many data centres popping up, there are definitive considerations that need to be taken into account when defining which data centre would work best:

Capitalising on the interconnected marketplace

There are several innovative data centre services that can be customised to meet the needs of the evolving business that span cost optimisations, security, availability and efficiency, but perhaps the most dynamic is the interconnected marketplace.

Organisations within a hyper-connected data centre infrastructure can use these services to connect with other companies also resting within the same infrastructure at a lower price point, and with increased performance and security.

Companies don’t want to be limited in how they connect, or where. They want to share content and connections so they can develop solutions that make commercial sense and that allow them to innovate at speed.

By leveraging this ability to exchange data between partners within the same data centre ecosystem, companies can bypass the unpredictability, costs and security risks of the public internet.

Within the interconnected marketplace, organisations can connect to more than just partners. They can connect the digital dots to ensure that customers benefit from their improved performance and availability.

And, as more and more data centres open up on the African continent, this means that this marketplace is accessible to the local organisation, and to companies of all sizes. In the past, this was an area dominated by the larger enterprise, but as data centres continue to increase their global footprints and real estate, they will become more accessible to smaller organisations.

This will likely see a shift in how companies leverage these marketplaces to create innovative solutions and disruptions.

Costs should be viewed in relativity to connectivity

Another USP that should sit high on the data centre selection list is cost. The ability to operate on the global stage and within multiple markets requires access to world-class data centres on the local level as this helps the organisation to unlock the potential of a data-driven, data-informed strategy.

Innovation and interconnectivity are immensely valuable, but the ability to tick all these boxes while saving on expenditure is key. Costs for organisations in Africa are coming down as more data centre platforms are established locally.

Companies can leverage local availability to develop robust local businesses and to engage seamlessly with the globally connected economy. Plus, access to local data centre capabilities is far more cost-effective than managing an in-house data centre and IT infrastructure.

Data centre: secure by design

The next consideration is one that’s facing every organisation today. In as much as the pandemic drove digitisation and data centre demand, it has also fundamentally changed working methodologies and frameworks.

This means that companies are looking for infrastructure that can support their needs around real-time data, content delivery and lower latency.

This is further influenced by the choice of cloud operating environment – multi- and hybrid cloud frameworks are reliant on robust data centre capability – and the organisation’s security requirements. Infrastructure has to be inherently secure to ensure the right controls are embedded from the outset.

Data centres built to scale with your business

Finally, perhaps one of the most potent USPs when selecting a data centre partner today has to be locality. A service provider with an extensive network across multiple countries and a solid local presence is a good bet for the business.

This will allow for the organisation to tap into the potential of the interconnected marketplace while benefitting from the scale, security, cost-savings, and reach of a global data centre network.

In the era of information, the age of analytics, and the economy of scale, a data centre is more than just a piece of infrastructure, it’s a platform that links multi-nationals across the globe with agility, flexibility and reliability.